Sixty years in the hot seat

A Leading furniture innovator has marked its 60th anniversary with new branding and investment at its Stevenage headquarters.

The Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA) which tests new products at its laboratory on Gunnels Wood Road, marked the occasion last month with a visit by Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland and the town mayor Michael Downing.

Chief operating officer Jonny Westbrooke said: “We’re delighted that despite difficult times within the industry, FIRA’s membership is increasing, and we’re proud of its 60 years of successful operation. We’re known internationally as the leading organisation involved in furniture testing and standards, ergonomics and the environment, and our aim is to continue to grow and support the furniture industry in these areas.

“The furniture ombudsman, which works in partnership with furniture retailers to provide dispute solutions for consumers, also has its expert team based here. The ombudsman, too, is growing in reputation and there are a number of initiatives under way to raise its profile across the UK”.

Mr McPartland said: “As MP for Stevenage newly-elected Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Furniture Group, I’m delighted that both FIRA and the furniture ombudsman are based here in Stevenage. I will be championing furniture and looking to promote world-class expertise such as that offered here. I am pushing for Stevenage to be recognised as a centre for research and development and I’m proud of the furniture industry and the contribution it makes to the local economy.”